Australia police arrested a 16-year-old schoolgirl and a 20-year-old man in Sydney Tuesday for financing the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS. The arrests were reportedly part of counterterrorism operations.
Authorities did not reveal the identities of the two suspects, but said that the man was previously arrested during the country’s largest counterterrorism raids in September 2014, BBC reported. Last year, the country’s anti-money laundering agency said that reports of suspected financing for terrorist groups had tripled in the past year, and more than $38 million that may be used to support Islamic militants was being probed.
“We anticipate that both these people will be charged later today and attend court and the charge that we anticipate they will have is one of financing terrorism,” New South Wales state police Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burn, said, according to Reuters. “We will be alleging that they were involved in obtaining money to send offshore to assist the Islamic State in its activities.”
“The 16-year-old girl is not somebody who is well-known to us, however it is disturbing that we are continuing to see a trend of teenage children involved in activities that they should really not be involved in at all.”
Australian Federal Police Deputy Commissioner Michael Phelan said the latest arrests were not connected to any threat of an imminent attack inside the country. Over the last few months, authorities said that they have thwarted several potential attacks.
“The charges these two people are expected to face relate to their alleged activities in raising funds and attempting to transfer those funds to an overseas terrorist organization,” Phelan said in a statement, according to Reuters.
Australia is part of a U.S.-led coalition conducting airstrikes against ISIS strongholds in Iraq and Syria. Since it began fighting the Sunni militant group, Australia has been on heightened alert for attacks by home-grown radicals and other ISIS supporters in the country.
According to the Australian government, more than 100 Australians are fighting alongside ISIS in Iraq and Syria, while another 150 citizens are believed to be supporting the extremist group from within the country.